Day 160 – Almost There

Countdown to XMAS – 25.5 hours left… 33.5 if I count sleeping.

The lead-up hasn’t been too bad this year. Shopping misery kept to a minimum. No leave in the lead-up to XMAS, which has worked out well too.

Last-minute gingerbread baking might not have been the best plan I ever had, but the result was worth it. Even if it made the regular ice-cream run a bit more of a stretch in turn.

I’m one batch of ice cream short of complete, so that’ll easily be done tomorrow.

And then I can rest.

Also, no gym for a few days on account of “closed”. Last class before XMAS was a punishing Kinesis class in which I managed to get carpet-burn on my knee, and not even the fun kind. But worth it… it feels good to be able to do nothing but sit for a little while I think.

Bring on the festivities!

Day 151 – Penalty Rates

Running over-time now. The Gingerbread House should have arrived at the party round about now, but we’re still putting on a few more finishing touches.

Partial Roof
Partial Roof

It’s not quite as complete as I would have made it, had I had more time, but I’m happy with the result of my first attempt at building Gingerbread.

Roof Complete, and Pool Filled
Roof Complete, and Pool Filled

Tiling the roof was a lot more effort than I had anticipated, but worth doing well. Now I think I may need a massage to get the knots back out of my shoulders from all the hunched-over tiling I did.

Does this mean I need to start driving a ute and wearing work boots?

Day 150 – Ginger Base Structure

This evening has been hectic and fruitful. It has been full of gingerbread and royal icing. Some excess pieces may have found their way into my mouth along the way.

Numbered Pieces
Numbered Pieces

I started by re-baking the pieces for another 10 minutes in the oven to firm them up. Gingerbread has this habit of getting soggy over time as it absorbs liquid from the air.

Some Pieces in Pieces
Some Pieces in Pieces

Unfortunately, not all the pieces were equally structurally sound. After the baking, the wrapping, and handling earlier in the week, some pieces had multiplied.

The Gingerbread Doctor
The Gingerbread Doctor

I got some assistance doctoring the pieces back together with royal icing. It’s amazing how hard it sets once it dries. The pieces all made a very satisfying plywood sound when tapped.

Somewhat Uneven
Somewhat Uneven

Now, putting together a house of pieces of gingerbread that are 4mm thick is not quite as easy as building it from cardboard. Also, the cookies aren’t as perfectly flat and pliable as the cardboard was. End result: many gaps and mis-matched edges.

Everything Glued Together
Everything Glued Together

Luckily, there is a lot more dressing to do before this work of art is complete, so for now I’m filling all the excess space with royal icing to keep the base structure sound.

A View of the Front
A View of the Front

And then I will worry tomorrow about hiding all the flaws. There’s quite a lot of work left, and only about 4-5 hours to complete it all in tomorrow, but I’m going to use some Agile Methodology here. Adding the most important features first, so that at each point in time I have a house that can be shipped for dinner tomorrow evening.

There will be pictures of the completed product, whatever that ends up being.

Day 143 – Baking Trial

I’m on a tight deadline, so this weekend will have to involve primary construction of my architecture project. I picked a recipe from Taste.com.au, and made it in full measure assuming I’d have to do a second larger batch to complete all the surfaces.

Ready to Measure
Ready to Measure

Apparently dimensions can be deceiving.
Reading “7 cups of flour” should have given me a clue.

To Flour Mountain
To Flour Mountain

In any case, I decided to proceed making all the dough, but only constructing a single roof segment tonight. Because it’s the largest and trickiest single piece to make with the oven at my disposal, and it will give me enough indication if the rest of my plans are workable with what I have.

D'ough
D’ough

I hope to have the rudimentary undecorated house standing before the end of the weekend.

Piece of Finished Architecture
Piece of Finished Architecture

Then there’ll be a few more evenings for embellishments on the exterior, before it’s time to eat my creation. I’m having a lot of fun already.

I just wish I could taste a bit… but I need it for the finished product. And I forgot to bake a spare piece!

Day 141 – Drawing, Cutting, Building

Plain post today.
Migraine not doing me any favours this morning.

The construction video from last night finally finished rendering successfully.

If anyone has tips regarding actual baking/construction, specifically regarding what will keep and how long, that’d be much appreciated.

I’ll need at least a gingerbread recipe and an icing recipe for wall-glue.
Both to last about two weeks after construction.

See also: Day 138 – Planning a Build

Day 140 – Gingerbread Template

Tonight I turned the draft plan that I did earlier into an actual cardboard template to be used for baking later. It worked out very well; putting the cardboard model together it looks like I haven’t made any terrible mistakes along the way.

After the tedium of measuring.
And the strain of cutting.
Seeing the actual house take shape was very gratifying.

[Video Omitted for Now – Trouble with my Editing Software]

Next I need to plan out the materials I need to bake, prep and cut the final product. And then I’ll have to do an extensive photo-shoot before I give in to the temptation of eating.

Deadline for final product: 2013-12-14.
A week-and-a-half to go.

Day 138 – Planning a Build

Today, a first attempt at video production. It’s a bit primitive; no audio. My goal was to find out the recording quality and whether I could get it through my available tools into a shape that would work on YouTube.

I’m going to build a gingerbread house based on a design for an actual house. So my first step was to print out the floor plan and exterior image so I can work out all the required baking.

The video below deconstructs the floor plan into a set of surfaces I will need. My next step will be to calculate all the dimensions for the various surfaces before cutting them out of cardboard as a template for the baking process.

As you can see, I’ve numbered all the surfaces as well. I don’t want to get my walls mixed up during construction.

Day 137 – Baking and Building

Clearly, I don’t have enough projects going at the same time yet (I really should make a list so I don’t lose track (Done!)). So, let me add one more!

I’ve never made a gingerbread house for Christmas before. I usually make ice cream instead. Mixed results, but more on that another time. I’ve been thinking it’s time I tried. The gingerbread that is, but not at the expense of the ice cream.

I like a challenge.

So, I need to pick some architecture to break down and recreate.
I have no idea what I’m doing.

But challenge me!
Send me a link to a building to try.
Share this post with anyone that might have a good challenge.

I need to pick a building by next weekend to have enough time to learn how to do this… something beyond a mere “house”, but within the realm of possibility.

Okay, maybe there’s not enough time to learn how to do this, but in that case I’ll just fail spectacularly. On video.

I’m going to use this as a way to do a recording trial unrelated to my other YouTube-inkling-of-an-idea.

So far, my Google search for architecture has returned a lot of very impractical buildings.

I’d really like a few more straight angles to work with.

Or I could just go with the obvious choice.

So, what do you reckon I should build?